Israel’s ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territory and repeated invasions of the Gaza Strip have triggered a fierce backlash against Israeli policies virtually everywhere in the world—except the United States. The Occupation of the American Mind takes an eye-opening look at this critical exception, zeroing in on pro-Israel public relations efforts within the United States. Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. media culture, the film explores how the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces, often with very different motives, to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel’s favor. From the U.S.-based public relations campaigns that emerged in the 1980s to today, the film provides a sweeping analysis of Israel’s decades-long battle for the hearts, minds, and tax dollars of the American people in the face of widening international condemnation of its increasingly right-wing policies. Discussion with directors Loretta Alper and Jeremy Earp to follow.
From 2011 to 2013, hundreds of regulations were passed restricting access to abortion in America. Reproductive rights advocates refer to these as “TRAP” laws, or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. While these laws have been enacted in 11 states, Southern clinics in particular have been hit hardest and are now in a fight for survival. Trapped interweaves the personal stories behind these regulatory battles: from the physician who crisscrosses the country ensuring medical services are available, to the strong women and men who run the clinics, to the lawyers leading the legal charge to eliminate these laws, to the women they are all determined to help. In this feature-length character-driven film, our main characters fight alongside a dedicated cadre of attorneys to preserve abortion rights in a country living with the mistaken belief that Roe v. Wade still protects a woman’s right to choose. Discussion with director Dawn Porter to follow.
In a celebration of outcasts, a precocious young blind woman vanishes into quirky obsessions and isolation. With humor and bold curiosity, she chases love and freedom in the most unexpected of places: a provocative fringe community. Discussion with director and alum Garrett Zevgetis, MA ’05, and subjects Michelle and Julie Smith to follow.
Real Boy is the coming-of-age story of Bennett Wallace, a transgender teenager on a journey to find his voice—as a musician, a friend, a son, and a man. As he navigates the ups and downs of young adulthood, Bennett works to gain the love and support of his mother, who has deep misgivings about her child’s transition. Along the way, he forges a powerful friendship with his idol, Joe Stevens, a celebrated transgender musician with his own demons to fight. Discussion with director Shaleece Haas and subject Bennett Wallace to follow
Do Not Resist is an urgent and powerful exploration of the rapid militarization of the police in the United States. Opening with shocking on-the-scene footage in Ferguson, Missouri, the film then broadens its scope to present scenes from across the country—a conference presentation where the value of high-end weapons technologies is presented to potential police buyers, a community that has just received its very own militarygrade tank, and a SWAT team arriving at a home to execute a warrant. The cumulative effect of these vignettes paints a startling picture of the direction our local law enforcement is headed. Discussion with director and alumnnus Craig Atkinson, MA ’08, to follow
Tuesday, September 20th Directed by Spike Lee, drama, 127 minutes, USA, 2015 A modern-day adaptation of the ancient Greek play Lysistrata by Aristophanes, set against the backdrop of gang violence in Chicago. The girlfriend (Teyonah Parris) of a Chicago gang leader (Nick Cannon) persuades other frustrated women to abstain from sex until their men agree to […]
To show what the USA can learn from rest of the world, director Michael Moore playfully visits various nations in Europe and Africa as a one-man “invader” to take their ideas and practices for America. Whether it is Italy with its generous vacation time allotments, France with its gourmet school lunches, Germany with its industrial policy, Norway with its prison system, Tunisia with its strongly progressive women’s policy, or Iceland with its strong female presence in government and business, among others, Moore discovers there is much that American should emulate. Discussion via Skype with producers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal to follow.
Arguably the most influential creator, writer, and producer in the history of television, Norman Lear brought primetime into step with the times. Using comedy and indelible characters, his legendary 1970s shows such as All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, and The Jeffersons boldly cracked open dialogue and shifted the national consciousness, injecting enlightened humanism into sociopolitical debates on race, class, creed, and feminism. Discussion with editor JD Marlow ’08 moderated by VMA Associate Professor Miranda Banks to follow.
This behind-the-scenes documentary follows former congressman Anthony Weiner as he runs for mayor of New York City in 2013. During the campaign, he becomes embroiled in a second widely publicized sexting scandal, which ultimately derails his once-promising political career. Discussion with VMA Associate Professor Miranda Banks and Simmons College Associate Professor of English Suzanne Leonard to follow to follow.
After years of rejecting his Japanese heritage, filmmaker Matthew Hashiguchi sets out on a humorous yet insightful journey to discover if his joyful grandmother and other family members also struggled with their Japanese American identities, just as he did while growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood in the Midwest. Discussion with filmmaker Matthew Hashiguchi, MFA ’11, to follow.